Taxpayers cough up £370m for Buckingham Palace

Tony Gosling tony at
Thu Nov 24 23:08:34 GMT 2016

Paying for Buckingham Palace


Profit on the Crown Estate over the last 10 years 
is enough to pay for the renovation of Buckingham Palace six times over.


That’s about right.

“The Crown Estate has already paid for the 
renovation [of Buckingham Palace] many times over 
by way of their contributions to Government 
revenue. In fact, they’ve already paid for it six 
times over in the last ten years alone having 
paid £2.4 billion to the Treasury over that period”

Huffington Post, 
November 2016

These figures are correct. The Treasury has 
billion in profit on assets owned by the Crown 
since 2007, which is more than six times the 
million estimated cost of refitting Buckingham Palace over the next 10 years.
That said, the level of the monarchy’s public 
funding is based on the profits of the Crown 
Estate. So by our calculations the Treasury’s net 
profit, if you like, has been more like £2.1 billion over the last decade.

The government keeps most of the money from Crown assets

The Crown Estate is land and other assets owned 
by the British monarchy. It’s 
the Queen’s personal property, though: she 
sell any of it. The Crown Estate comes with the job.
billion, the Crown Estate includes 
of St James’s in central London, various 
parks and shopping centres around Great Britain, 
farms, and 
hectares of rural land.
It’s managed by 
commissioners rather than by the monarchy or the 
government. They hand over the profit from rent 
and other income from the Crown Estate to the 
Treasury, as has been the case 
The Queen gets a sum equivalent to 
of this in a ‘Sovereign Grant’ to spend on the 
royal family’s official duties, 
as visits abroad, staff salaries, and upkeep on 
palaces like Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.
But the government 
that the cost of “essential” repair work needed 
on Buckingham Palace means that 15% isn’t enough. 
So the Sovereign Grant is going to be increased 
to 25% of the profit on the Crown Estate­meaning 
that, in effect, less will go to the Treasury for the next 10 years or so.

Could Her Majesty pay for it herself?

That decision has given rise to a petition, 
signed at time of writing by 
140,000 people, demanding that the Royal Family pay for the repairs.
The Queen and her family do have private sources 
of income, separate from the Crown Estate lands.
1399, land and property in the Duchy of Lancaster 
has provided the monarch with a ‘Privy Purse’. 
This is income that can be spent on whatever the 
Queen wants, although the House of Commons 
that some of it is spent on her official duties. 
In 2015, the Privy Purse came to 
The Duchy of Lancaster is 
in trust for the Queen, and there is 
involvement and oversight of it. The 
goes for the Duchy of Cornwall, which provided 
the Prince of Wales with 
£20 million in 2015.
By contrast, the Queen also has private wealth 
like anyone else. And like most people, she 
doesn’t feel the need to make public how much 
she’s personally worth. So we don’t know exactly 
how much she could in theory put towards repair 
work on Buckingham Palace, although 
and the 
Times have estimated her personal fortune at around £340 million.
The rationale for increasing the Sovereign Grant 
instead is that Buckingham Palace isn’t just a 
place for the Queen to live. The government 
to the economic value of the palace as a tourist 
attraction, and to the official events that take place there.
Those signing the petition against this decision 
may view Buckingham Palace as more of a personal 
asset, and the Crown Estate as a public asset rather than the monarch’s.

Isn't it nice to have the whole picture?

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